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Gavin Russell
By Gavin Russell on March 07, 2014

BRW Article: L’Oreal Win Propels Melbourne Tech Firm Into Big League

Article Updated, 7 July 2017

Skillslive has been formed to execute a global commercialisation strategy for the Loft Group’s Digital Education Platform, establish in 2012. Skillslive Edu Pty Ltd was recently acquired by Loft Ventures Pty Ltd with an established portfolio of technology companies focused on global opportunities though cloud infrastructure and scalable technology

Media | BRW Magazine Article, 25th February 2014

In a recent interview with BRW Magazine, Loft Group CEO, Gavin Russell announced that the company has raised $300,000 from wealthy investors after bagging its biggest global contract with L’Oreal, ­giving the Melbourne-based tech company an implied market capitalisation of $1 million.

It has a memorandum of understanding to provide a global e-learning platform for cosmetics giant L’Oreal, to teach hairdressing salons about shampoo and colour. Loft Group, which previously supplied L’Oreal Australia with printed educational materials in the local market, beat out international rivals to secure the contract. The win is the company’s “biggest yet” and “significant enough that it prompted a small-scale share offering”, says Loft Group founder and Chief Executive, Gavin Russell.

Russell, who retains majority ownership, is now in discussion with venture capital firms in the US and Singapore. He is seeking investment to grow the company from its current 50 employees to an initial target of 200 and then on to 500.

“It was very challenging to find money in Australia,” Russell says. “When I first embarked on it around two years ago, there was a really limited market that would even talk to us and investors were very thin on the ground, but the US and Singapore is where we’ve been directed to focus our efforts.”

The account win also prompted Loft Group to migrate its e-learning platform onto the cloud and the company selected IBM’s SoftLayer cloud infrastructure after a competitive process that also included Amazon Web Services. “The reason behind [moving to the cloud] is to get that scale so we can switch countries on and off,” Russell says. “We obviously did our due diligence and I understand that the IBM solution had the best ease of use and they were most responsive when we tried to get help desk support.”

Loft started as a specialist in printed and PowerPoint educational and marketing materials, but three years ago, it built its digital education platform and has pivoted to focus more on growing this side of the business.

Business Review Weekly, Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online Editor – Published 25 February 2014 07:09, Updated 25 February 2014 10:04


Loft Group

Loft Group is a proudly Australian company, founded in 2007. Loft specialises in identifying customer delight, building innovative and inventive solutions and leveraging solid design process to deliver quality outcomes.  Our primary focus is about improving communities by improving communications, connectivity and visibility of information.  In doing so, we support research methodologies, professional engagement and human connections to strengthen the context within which these communities operate.

Our process builds a firm understanding of both requirement and expectation, using our expertise to enhance and improve within our target industries and improve and support client domain knowledge and activity. We use a proven technology stack that ensures Loft will be the first mover within any sector, driving the application product road map to achieve rapid development and deployment, global scale and the ability for modular diversification across broader main stream market opportunities. Visit our website… Loft Group


Skillslive Digital Learning Solutions

Skillslive is a learner-centric Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Record Store (LRS) that is designed to help organisations increase learning engagement while enhancing an individual’s learning outcomes and improved organisational performance.

Skillslive enables on-demand education and contextual learning, collecting data and presenting analytics and insights to provide a 360° view within an organisation's learning ecosystem. Skillslive contributes to creating visibility across an organisation, its employees and contractors, plus aligning learning pathways with professional development, competencies, compliance, certification and accreditation.

Skillslive remains innovative and at the forefront of education technologies. Focusing on corporate learning ecosystems and the benefits that big data will contribute to creating visibility across an entire organisation at a local and global level. Additionally, the utilisation of cognitive systems that are able to exhibit adaptive, proactive and emotive behaviour. When implemented in support of educational activities a connection between communities and the process of learning, content delivery, assessment and collaboration can all be individualised, measured and presented in an enterprise dashboard. What drives this process is a common cognitive framework that humans use to inform their decisions: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate, and Decide.

Skillslive EDU Pty Ltd was recently acquired by Loft Ventures Pty Ltd. Loft Ventures has a portfolio of technology companies focused on global opportunities though cloud infrastructure and scalable technology. Skillslive was formed to execute a global commercialisation strategy for the Loft Group Digital Education Platform.


Digital Education Platform (DEP)

The Digital Education Platform is an enterprise grade mobile content delivery solution for education and training. The training application enables companies such as L'Oreal to deliver sales and product training to their entire national salon network, retail stores, staff and clients. Development of the training application commenced with Kerastase in 2011 and has since been deployed within the L’Oreal Professional Product Division Australia and New Zealand across global brands such as L'Oreal, Kerastase, Matrix and Redken.

The solution identifies with the need for a software application upon which an individual can engage with content through self-organised educational models, benefit from proven social collaboration and be encouraged through the sharing of their efforts with industry professional mentors and peer groups. The purpose of this tool is to assemble the large concepts of education and make them more accessible and consumable by the individual.

Our vision for the ideal digital classroom is emerging. It meets the needs of the students and the community that surrounds them. It assists in the creation of innovative content design and supports delivery and assessment. It provides opportunity for active learning and collaboration amongst peers and mentors by putting control into the hands of the individual. In short, it's not a room at all.

Published by Gavin Russell March 7, 2014
Gavin Russell